Help Wanted

Urgent update on the “Leave Only Your Footprints” Campaign:

This anti-litter campaign began once I was inspired by my German Shepherd puppy, Lulu, whom I rescued from a woman that found her at 8 months old, in good health, but a little skinny. She had been dumped off in a very rural neighborhood on the edge of the Everglades, probably by someone who lost their home during the current economic challenges many have been facing and could no longer keep her. Lulu is a beautiful, pure bred, well behaved, and very sweet puppy. I have no doubt that who ever had to let her go has suffered greatly. She brings me such joy, especially at a particularly tough time in my own life.

We take walks throughout our low income neighborhood everyday and after a few weeks I couldn’t stand noticing all the litter on the ground that comes from the children at the nearby school, people that walk through the neighborhood and do not respect the Earth, and the local garbage men that do not pick up the items that fall out of the truck on collection days. So, because of my walks with Lulu, I started collecting trash everyday which has further inspired ideas and this campaign.

Lulu modeling her dogshirt. (It's not easy to take her picture with her back to me.)

Lulu modeling her dogshirt. (It's not easy to take her picture with her back to me.)

During the week we pick up at least one, usually two, grocery store plastic bags full during our morning and afternoon walks. On the weekends when I do not have to go to my day job at the office, I like to take Lulu for a drive to the beach and then we walk along the beach boardwalk collecting trash there too, enjoying the peace and tranquility that I get from being near the ocean.

What I’m about to share with you now is going to reveal one of my biggest fears that I have been facing lately. I was raised to be a very strong and independent woman out of necessity. I have a very strong work ethic and I always enjoy giving help to others, even before myself. I’ve received minimal assistance in the past and made some drastic sacrifices that some would never have the guts to consider. I did not come from a family with money and I put myself through an expensive, four year degree at a private college by attending full time and working sometimes up to four jobs at once just to pay for tuition, rent, and other necessities. Over the years after college, I continued to work hard, sometimes two or three jobs at a time, just to make my way… barely.

I established great credit, earned a respectable reputation among people I know, and after many sacrifices I started to discover who I really am. I stopped being the uncertain, low self-esteem, quiet girl that I once was. I no longer “settle” for anything less than what I really want. Sure, I’ve slipped a few times, who hasn’t? Every time that I recognize that I “settled” for anything less than what I really wanted, I realize why I was unhappy in that situation – from relationships, to jobs, to the perfect home or neighborhood, or allowing bad personal habits get in the way of being a better person. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with settling for less. Sometimes it is necessary in order to pause, catch your breath, and collect yourself together before moving on up the mountain.

I now only surround myself with positive people as much as I can, take every opportunity that comes my way for learning, and have submerged myself into practicing only good habits that will improve my situation and teach others. I love what I do (outside of my day job) and I love who I have become.

After years of barely getting by, making a huge change in life to break from my monotony, I purchased my first home during a seller’s market. I also began my discovery of who I am, taking some big risks. In doing so, I ran up my credit beyond manageable, believing that I will soon make something of myself to pay it all back. I still have faith in this belief, however, during these tough economic times, I am now suffering like so many others, that I too run the risk of losing my home that I’ve worked so hard for. I know have not “made” it yet and sometimes it puts a little doubt demon on my shoulder whispering things in my ear like, “If you can’t show your net worth to others by doing what you love and being Ms. Positive all of the time, what makes you so sure you are qualified to inspire others or teach them anything about how to follow their dreams and be successful?

It’s really tough to get through those thoughts some days, especially when so many other things start piling up at once besides the bills. That’s why I am so thankful for my positive, like-minded friends that know what to say at just the right time to help me out. Ha! many times they don’t even realize it because they are not talking to me one on one or even know what is going on with me at the time (see example here).  I really do not like to show weakness in myself. I very stubbornly do a lot by myself and rarely ask for help unless I know for certain that I am physically unable to manage whatever I am tackling alone.

I absolutely have not given up and never will, as I know what my passions are and firmly believe when you do what you love, the money will follow. Until then, I am working with my creditors, tightening up another notch on my financial belt, and talking to the bank about my mortgage to see if any of them will help me out. Not wanting to charge anything off because I am still very stubborn and have a very strong sense of responsibility that since I incurred my debt, I must therefore pay it back. I do not want to be another statistic that has added to the debt write-offs of our country and add to another of the reasons of the recession that so many has been experiencing.

So one of my biggest fears, that I have just shared with you and really had to swallow my pride and get over my denial, is the possibility of losing everything that I have worked so hard all my life for and ruining my credit (and credibility? ~ there’s that demon again, GO AWAY!). I’m not asking for handouts but rather assistance. As the old proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” I’ve been learning to fish from some master anglers and I am fishing right now. I just haven’t caught anything yet.  I will.

When you purchase something from my shop, the proceeds from the sales on my CafePress site (and through the affiliate advertising and several other programs on this site), you assist to help me get back on my financial feet and to continue pay for my currently upside down mortgage, purchase dog food for Lulu (and cat food for her two cat friends at home, one who is also a rescue) and other essentials for me, Lulu, the kitties (Calvin & Splash), and a friend that sometimes stays with me who is also suffering financially. By your support of purchasing products, you too will be spreading the message to hopefully encourage more involvement in anti-litter efforts in your own communities. Then, as a whole, we can all make the Earth a cleaner, more beautiful place for us all to live.

With your assistance and once I’m out of the red, Lulu and I plan to donate all the proceeds from the “Leave Only Your Footprints” campaign to other environmental organizations like the Wyland Foundation and animal care organizations such as the Big Cat Rescue or a local no-kill animal shelter.

Thank you in advance for your support. Following are several links that I have uncovered related to credit and financial assistance that may be a help to some of you that are reading this.  If you can think of any others, please leave a comment so that I can add to the list.  (If you are reading this from my Notes in Facebook, please go to my website to post your comments.  Thanks!)

Yours in peace,
Smiles, Lulu, Calvin, & Splash

(PEACE = Positive Energy Always Creates Enlightenment)

Credit Karma


Angel Food Ministries



Lending Club

Novadebt Credit Counseling

U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development